Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Yeah, that's right: I've been atypically irritable lately. I think it's definitely related to the heat wave. Being out all day - another "new" development since the summer term began - especially in the heat, is a contributing factor. I'm used to spending my days at home with my cats under the air conditioning. When I'm not taking classes or teaching, I sometimes go days without leaving my sensory deprivation-like (and I mean this in a good way) home. Spending hours every day driving to McKinney via Addison and back doesn't make the experience any better.

Usually I'm pretty good at clearing my mind and becoming balanced. All those yoga and meditation classes certainly have paid off. But the past two weeks, I've found it almost impossible to do the most basic and beneficial thing of all: relax. Is it too much coffee? Is it the 100+ temperatures? Is it the pollution/ozone? Stress from bad Dallas drivers? Less sleep? Less "mammal time" with the kitties? Just why is it I've become a cranky old bastard lately?

Is it due to my attempt to get through some of the required Heidegger texts on my own regarding his anti-aesthetic theory of aesthetics before the fall term begins? This afternoon I finally reached the end of "The Origin of the Work of Art" after three days. I averaged about 10 pages per hour. So, the origin of the work of art is art. And "art is by nature an origin." My "translation": the art of the work of art is art. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Fuck Art! [But that's another story altogether....]

Perhaps it's due to my latest and most certainly mad crusade of trying to get copies of my student course evaluations from spring 2005. Several weeks ago I asked the departmental secretary for the copies and was told I would have to contact HR at the McKinney campus. Since I was going to be teaching there this summer term, I waited until I could just pop in their office and make my request. Yesterday before class, I did just that. HR gave me Peggy's email address; she is in charge of Student Records. Peggy rather tersely told me to contact the departmental dean, who told me to come by the office. And so the circle of life [read: circle of strife] continues. I probably pissed off the dean by drawing a diagram of what I've already been through followed by a handful of question marks in an email last night. Later, I sent very explicit and hyper-functional emails to Peggy ["Dear Peggy, I'm a bit unclear on your response: does this mean that you are not the person who can get me copies of my student course evaluations? Or is the proper procedure to contact the dean in order to get copies from you?"] and again to the departmental secretary. This morning I had lots of emails in my inbox: departmental secretary told me to contact HR again, Peggy told me that she indeed was the right person but that she needed authorization from the dean, and the dean's response amounted to, "My head is too far up my ass to see straight." [His actual response was, "I have no control over course evaluations in storage."] I didn't respond to any of them. I mean, after all, where the hell am I supposed to begin with telling so many people that they're fucking idiots?!?! And this is an academic institution!

This afternoon I received a very nice email from someone in HR: "So sorry for the misunderstanding about your student evaluation records. I will get a hold of your records from Peggy and get them to you. The records you want are at this point housed at the records center. Are you wanting to just review the records, or get copies of them to take? Do you want to pick them up when they're ready, or have me mail them to your home?" The path of least resistance is always the best path to travel down. Maybe all this frustration lately was just to remind me of this one simple lesson.

1 comment:

  1. I too am suffering from immense academic frustration and paperwork.

    Thanks to a records goof, I have to tread the dead zone that is finacial aid, in the hopes of qualification this semester.